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Discernment is a spiritual ability that profoundly impacts every area of our lives. Simply put, discernment is the intuitive capacity to decide between truth and error, right and wrong, or good and bad. It is probably one of the most powerful yet misunderstood tools in our arsenal of spiritual gifts.

The English dictionary defines discernment as follows:

“The ability to judge well. It is perception in the absence of judgement with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.” (Google, [Def.1], n.d.)

One of the reasons why discernment is so misunderstood is because jealous and insecure people often operate from suspicion, but call their paranoia discernment. They are consumed with looking for the negative and obsessing over it. However discernment is entirely different from suspicion. Discernment is produced from a place of wisdom and peace. Suspicion on the other hand springs from a place of fear and condemnation.

Here are three ways that discernment can impact your life:

1.       It acts as a means of protection, guarding us from deception by any who would seek to harm us. It protects us from being misled by information that is harmful or distracting to the life we intend to create.

2.       Discernment also acts as an instrument of healing and compassion when exercised correctly. People can use this ability to diagnose the spiritual and emotional needs of others, to strengthen relational connections, or to improve communication in a way that prevents conflict.

3.       Finally, discernment serves as a catalyst to spiritual development. Proverbs 14:6 says “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning” (Holy Bible, New International Version). A true seeker of wisdom, growth and success is always hungry to learn, but without discernment, it is impossible to distinguish between useful and useless knowledge.

Develop Your Discernment:

Here is a simple exercise you can do to hone and master your spiritual gift of discernment. Set some time apart – at least 15 uninterrupted minutes. Once you are in this private space, start exercising your discernment by choosing one specific person to mediate on. Intentionally focus on that person until you have clearly identified what it is about them you desire to understand in your mind. Take your time and instead of generalizing, concentrate intently on one specific area about them that needs discernment. During this time, you should intentionally seek to discover what is hindering any growth and advancement in that one area, then, identify what can be done to bring life, growth, or change into that area. Once you can see a viable solution, ask yourself what specific things you are willing and able to do in order to help. Lastly, take action from what you discerned. As you do this more and more, you will! find that your accuracy and effectiveness keep growing.


Discernment [Def. 1]. (n.d.). In Dictionary. Google LLC. Retrieved Thursday, December 28, 2017.

Richard Martinez

Intl. Transformation Expert

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Happy New Year! It’s that time of year when everyone’s scrambling to make resolutions, but have you ever asked yourself why? Especially when over one third of resolutions end up forgotten by the wayside before January is over. Most of them won’t even be remembered six months later. Whenever we commit to a resolution, this decision requires us to evaluate ourselves in ways that many don’t normally do. This is good because self-reflection is a healthy way to illuminate flaws that need improvement. For many, the New Year actually serves as a wake-up call. Choosing to do something about your life in order to become a better person is always a powerful thing!

Why do so many New Year’s Resolutions fail before January is over?

Most resolutions are made in response to something negative; a habit or situation that the person wants to change or end. And that is a big problem – it’s hard to develop momentum from a negative response. It is always easier to move toward something, than away from something. This is a powerful key to whether people follow through on their goals or not.

Most New Year’s Resolutions lack a foundation of meaning and personal relevance that makes it difficult to deviate from them. What you need is something sincere. Something that comes from the inside. Something that’s based on what actually matters to you. It has to be something that is aligned with your personal values, vision and purpose. This is the only way to get behind a resolution; have confidence in it and keep your motivation to see it through. Your resolutions must be attached to something bigger. Something meaningful that clearly illustrates sustainable benefit.

Embrace the Gap

Resolutions or goals can have a tendency to make you feel less-than, because there’s something you don’t have now that you aspire to gain in the future. Goals introduce a gap or transition between where you are, and where you’d like to be, which instantly makes part of where you are right now a place you don’t want to be. This is how the very nature of having goals can hurt your self-confidence if you don’t know your personal value. Learn to embrace the transition, embrace and enjoy the gap.

Once you reach a goal, what’s next? Instinct says you’ve got to set another goal. Then another, then another…When do you get to stop and just enjoy life right where you are? This dilemma is why the real gold and real value of pursuing a goal is in the experience, NOT in the end result.

Create a Life on Purpose

Live on purpose, with purpose! What will you do in 2018 to put yourself in a position to make more money? What will you do in 2018 to develop better relationships with those you love and value? What will you do in 2018 to live the life you’ve always wanted?

It’s not enough just to have written goals, you must have a concrete plan to reach these goals. Know and see your goal clearly. Know why you want to accomplish that goal. See yourself enjoying the benefits of reaching your goals, and visualize them to the point that you can taste, smell and feel them. Experience them in your imagination as if they are your current reality.

Will 2018 be just another year that started with good intentions but didn’t go anywhere? It’s time to go from good intentions to intentional living! Make this the year you get your weight under control…start that business you’ve constantly been talking about…get out of debt for good…take your business to another level, or do something to build stronger relationships.

Here is a great tool to help you achieve your goals!


Richard Martinez

Intl. Transformation Expert

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The New Year is here! As we enter into 2018, it is wise to reevaluate all of our personal and professional goals. We need to pause a little bit and really examine whether how we’re living is working or not. Self-awareness through self-reflection is a powerful tool and precursor to success. As young as the year may be, we have already started gathering different people, things, and perspectives that either add to, or take away from our energy, time, health and happiness. Moreover there are things that might have served our goals well when the year began, but they’re now obstacles that need to be done away with. Whether it is you taking on other people’s problems, taking on more than you can handle, or not dedicating the right time and energy into what you are responsible for, things must be reviewed, revised and readjusted for this New Day.

Wise people focus their energies on managing what they are directly responsible for. Each person has specific things in life that deserve, require, and even demand our time and energy. Simply put, these are all our responsibilities. For parents, responsibilities tend to revolve around children. For professionals, they tend to revolve around career-success. Even children have responsibilities which revolve around their academic performance. The point is that every person has specific areas that receive undivided attention, time and energy. Our overall satisfaction in life is directly tied into how well we manage the various things that we are ultimately responsible for.

Yes we can all multitask in order to distribute the attention given to our many responsibilities, but it’s very important to remember that some responsibilities need our highest concentration. They deserve distinction from what routinely occupies our efforts because of how much personal attention, time and energy they require.

We have one life, and our time and energy is invaluable. Our time and energy are foundational to getting all that we want in life, therefore, we must be most responsible with where, what or who we dedicate time and energy to. Wise people focus their energies upon managing that which has been given to them. They start by mastering what they have, then building bigger and expanding into more. As they prove faithful, they will be expanded, promoted, and exalted. This is being responsible with time and energy. Do not try to change the whole world if you have not established peace in your own life. Work on your home and your relationships. Spend time with your children. Get your finances in order before you try to exert authority over society.

Richard Martinez

Intl. Transformation Expert

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It’s the holidays and for most, that means eating, lots of eating. It’s no wonder that one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. Going ham over the holidays is bound to pack on a few extra pounds! Why not take a healthier approach to what we eat during this holiday season and beyond? Below are a few healthier choice recipes to try during this holiday season.


Maple Glazed Carrots

3 or 4 carrots

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

pinch of salt and pepper

1. Peel and slice the carrots into rounds.

2. Place them in a skillet with the water. Cover and cook for 6 to 7 minutes until soft.

3. Add the maple syrup, butter and vinegar. Sauté uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring.

4. Season with salt and pepper.


Apple and Pear Cobbler


¼ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup potato starch

¼ cup almond flour

1 teaspoon fine salt (or sea salt or kosher salt should be ground fine)

4 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cardamom

¼ teaspoon cloves, ground

¼ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Combine gluten-free flours and potato starch, sugar, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add sour cream and blend until dough begins to come together. Do not form ball.

Place the completed dough between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Form a large ball of dough between the sheets, and then gently flatten into a square. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.


2 pounds crisp, fresh apples

2 pounds Bartlett pears

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon cloves, ground

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°

Transfer fruit slices to a pie dish or a 9” baking dish. Combine lemon juice and vanilla in small bowl. Pour over apples and toss to coat. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, flour, and cloves in small bowl. Sprinkle over fruit and toss to coat. Rearrange fruit to make compact and wipe rim of dish clean. Place dough atop fruit and gently tuck edges under at 3-inch intervals. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sliced almonds over top. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The cobbler is done when

the topping is golden brown and the fruit bubbles around the edge of the pan.


Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is more involved than the other recipes, so be sure to have someone to help you!

8 ounces macaroni

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon dry mustard

3-1/2 cups milk or soymilk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1-1/2 cups grated raw cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the macaroni according to package directions.

3. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the flour and mustard and cook over low heat for 2

to 3 minutes, stirring continuously.

5. Add milk slowly while whisking to remove any lumps.

6. Remove from the heat and add cheese. Add the salt, pepper and macaroni, stir to

combine and pour into a greased baking dish.

7. In a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, herbs and oil. Sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese.

8. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.



1-1/2 cups carob semisweet chips

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

4 eggs

2/3 cup agave nectar or 1-1/4 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1. In a small bowl, melt carob chips in microwave for 2 minutes. Or place carob chips in a heat-resistant bowl on top of a boiling pot of water until melted.

2. In blender or food processor, combine chickpeas and eggs.

3. Add sweetener, baking powder and melted chips; process until smooth.

4. Pour batter into an approximately 9-inch nonstick pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

6. Allow to cool; cut and serve.

These are surprisingly delicious, and nobody will be able to guess that they’re made from chickpeas!


Richard Martinez

Intl. Transformation Expert

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There is more to the human body than our physical form. Each of us also possesses a spirit and soul.

Just as our bodies are in direct contact with the natural world, our spirits are in direct contact with the spiritual world at all times. This is to say that you exist in two worlds at the same time. In turn, this means that you also have spiritual senses that can be used and developed.

In the same way our physical senses of hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell perceive what occurs in the natural world, our spiritual senses discern phenomena that occur in the spiritual world. We can actually train our senses to discern spiritual things and these spiritual things can help us in our daily lives.

Learning to harness your spiritual capabilities is a necessary discipline because our natural human thought patterns are incapable of directly recognizing the spiritual. Communication of spiritual realities must take place on the level of the Spirit. We can receive solutions to problems, creative ideas and establish better connection with anyone through discernment of spiritual phenomena.

Understanding Spiritual Principles

Understanding things like visions, dreams and impressions can propel your life to another level of happiness and success. You will learn to recognize and utilize spiritual information, ideas, solutions, invention and more. You will learn to recognize and receive epiphanies. Mastering your spiritual sense will feel like having a divine download of insights, guidance, confidence, and more. Most people have a hard time distinguishing between their own imagination and their spiritual eyesight. However any person can learn to sense supernatural impressions upon our spirits through stirrings, nudges, words, spiritual pictures, burdens, and unction’s.

Here is a personal example of how developing your spiritual awareness can benefit your life and those around you. One day I was with a client for a one-on-one session. This client has a business and has been successful for over 15 years. The client wanted to take their business to the next level of profit, which is why they came to RISE Programs. During our session I started getting images in my mind about their business. As my client answered my questions I started having visions of them growing their business through a specific strategy. It’s like I saw a movie in my mind about their future. Because I have trained my senses, I have an awareness and a confidence to know when it’s something important or not. I have learned spiritual language and how to use what I see and hear for the benefit all. After seeing these images and visions I began to share with my client the strategy I saw for their business. I di! dn’t tell them I was getting my ideas from a vision in the spiritual realm, I just shared the strategy and it amazed them to the point of tears. This idea and strategy was beyond me and how I normally think. It was so powerful and effective for their business and also did something very profound to them personally. I thank God for these revelations.


For the next few days I want you to journal the images, words, impressions, burdens, nudges that push you towards helping you or someone else. Even if you do not understand what the images mean, just keep a log of everything. For now I want you to begin to become more aware.

3 Steps to become more aware of the spiritual realm:

1.       Ask – Ask God to speak to you for the good of your decisions and of others. To speak to you through mental images, visions and dreams. Pray and personally commit to do the next step.

2.       Seek – Throughout the day when you have a need for solutions or ideas, expect to see visions. They could be in the form of words, images, numbers etc. but they will be in visual form projected on the mental screen in your mind.

3.       Write it down – As you receive images, write down what you saw in your mind, and what was happening to you when you received them. What were you doing? Who was around you? What were you talking about? Record all these things as soon as possible so you don’t forget anything.

Richard Martinez

Intl Transformation Expert

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How can you tell whether or not someone walks with God?

Know them by their fruits

Spirituality can feel like a maze. There are millions of people in this world who practice a countless number of faiths. Even when people share the same religion, it’s often the case that they fragment into even more varied denominations or schools of thought within their mutual faith. Each person has their own spiritual perspective, and it’s informed by the unique way that they encounter the world over time. This is what makes finding the right belief system complicated. It is understandably difficult to identify the truth from such an assortment of viewpoints. So how exactly can we tell who, or what, is right? How can we weed through all the confusion to find substance?

I have personally worked alongside many different types of people and confronted a kaleidoscope of different beliefs. I have learned that whether I think they are wrong or right, people generally have their own legitimate reasons for believing what they believe. Everyone has a unique life story, and from this life story springs our individual belief systems which we rely on in life. I have also learned that there are many beliefs which others possess that I may not necessarily share. However these very beliefs ultimately produce good results when applied. Based on this understanding, I have learnt to judge what is true, not from which religion a person is in, but from the outcomes of their actions. I focus on what is right rather than who is right.

How do I know what is “right”? How do I know what is “true”? How do I know whose advice to give more weight to? That is where I apply this verse below.

Matthew 7:16-20

“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

These simple words spoken by Jesus Christ contain one of the most universal philosophical principles whether or not you identify as Christian. If you ever experience confusion in matters of faith, the best way to figure out the truth, or to figure out what works, is to analyze the fruits of those who either practice or profess said faith. Religion that gives rise to bad fruit such as hatred, oppression, or ignorance is a lie. On the other hand religion that gives rise to good fruit such as love, community and empowerment is the truth. So many claim to have a relationship with God, but personifying this faith is the only way to have a genuine walk with God. Does their lifestyle actually show their faith? Do they live in a way that consistently produces desirable results? This is what Christ meant by bearing fruit. What does their belief system produce? If you can see ! that their fruit is good, it speaks something about their tree and the roots they have. When we see someone living a life that has morals, values, service, success, and more, this speaks to the validity and reliability of their beliefs.

Richard Martinez

Intl. Transformation Expert

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Happy Holidays! Or is it? As the holiday season heads to a climax, I can’t help but see, feel, and experience the intense swing of emotions that people around me are going through.

On one hand, many are excited about celebrating. They become child-like about all the Christmas lights and decorations; enthusiastic to see gleeful faces when gifts are opened; anticipating the fun of being with friends and family; and of course, they become hungry for all the great food! One the other hand however, there is a deep sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger that grips a lot of people too during the holiday season. So many are reminded of the loss of loved ones; the stress of the busy season; fear or anger of having to be around certain people at parties; or anxiety about buying gifts when there is already debt and weight-gained from all the good food. Some even have to share their kids because of divorce and so on.

Both good and bad emotions are experienced during the Holiday Season, and it can be very intense for many of us. Which begs the question, what can we do to set ourselves up to enjoy the season more?

Here are 4 Simple tips to help you during the Holiday Season:

1.       Forgive, and enjoy your time:

Forgiveness is healing for your body, soul and spirit. Our past can become a prison. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you agree with any injustices you may have suffered before. On the contrary, forgiveness is a decision to break beyond the pain of betrayal by letting go of the emotional ties that weigh us down with regret.

To start your path towards healing, write the names of the people you need to forgive today. Write down what they did or didn’t do. If it happens to be yourself whom you need to forgive, write down what you did or didn’t do. Now choose to whole-heartedly forgive and receive forgiveness. Speak it out loud, and allow yourself to internalize this confession. If you need to repeat it a few times in order to really get it out of your heart, then do so. Forgive so you can sincerely enjoy the Holiday Season.

2.       Don’t accumulate debt because of Gift Spending:

Expectations for holiday presents seem to grow every year, and that’s one more thing that makes the holidays expensive. Somehow in attempts to top last year’s exchange, you end up swiping your card more than usual. MagnifyMoney did a holiday debt survey and found that during last year’s holiday season, Americans took on an average of $1,003 in debt, and this amount has increased consistently from previous years.

Here are 3 tips to cut costs for your holiday shopping:

·         Set a spending limit for each person

·         Only spend what you have in your account

·         Don’t buy yourself anything

3.       Don’t make Alcohol the focal point

It’s party season! Whether it’s with family, workplace or among friends. With all these celebrations inevitably comes the opportunity to indulge in alcohol. This is all fun and good until someone gets out of hand and creates a problem that can’t be ignored. If you can’t have a good time without some liquid courage, you just might end up hurting yourself and those around you. Beware not to permanently attach enjoyment in life to alcohol. This is a sure way to rob yourself of the satisfaction of simple pleasures. After all, it’s the little things in life that count the most, and if you aren’t sober enough to enjoy them, life will pass you by.

If you are likely to drive at any point during your festivities, make sure not to drink. If you aren’t the designated driver, set a limit for yourself anyways. Be honest with yourself as well. If you know you need help keeping things under control, let someone else know your limit to keep yourself accountable. You don’t need to have a drink glued to your hand all night to have a good time. And above all, remember why you’re doing this.

4.       Exercise and Watch your diet more carefully during Holiday Season

So many gain weight during the holiday season because they think, “It’s the Holiday Season, I’ll diet after the New Year!” So many make the mistake of making Thanksgiving and Christmas a week of feasting instead of a one-day indulgence. We must change our perspective and instead of piling your plate with things that don’t really satisfy you, pick food that gives you true enjoyment. Another tip is to start with a broth-based soup or salad, then move on to lean protein so that by the time you reach all the sweets, all you will need is a few bites to feel satisfied. Another good idea is to “pre-eat” something with protein and vegetables so you don’t easily overindulge.

These are not laws or rules to be a killjoy. They are tips to help set you up for a great holiday and a strong start to the New Year. Be present, be healthy and nothing will stop you from being able to enjoy yourself.

Happy Holidays!


Richard Martinez

Intl. Transformation Expert

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 La Cuesta de Enero – what exactly is it? The true meaning behind this expression lies in the word cuesta, which translated from Spanish means an uphill slope. Therefore as its name indicates, La Cuesta de Enero means the January slope or the January climb. For those who don’t know, Mexico and Spain typically use this phrase to describe the aftermath of being broke in January after celebrating and spending a little too much over the holidays.

In other words, when you hear someone say, “estoy en la cuesta de Enero,” they’re simply expressing that they’re trying to cope with the financial struggles of surviving through January on a strained budget.

Even beyond holiday spending however, La Cuesta de Enero feels that much harsher because of normal financial obligations like tax season, back-to-school spending, costly New Year’s resolutions and so on. La Cuesta de Enero is worrisome for lots of families because it piles onto an already high cost of living.

What can be done to avoid the famous “January Slope?”

Surviving the January slope starts with organizing your expenses in December. Beyond doing the usual things to control spending, being thoughtful and practical about which gifts to buy can actually prevent you from spending too much money before the New Year. There’s a reason why they say it’s the thought that counts. It’s because sentimental value is far more precious than financial value when it comes to gift-giving.

Instead of basing your purchases on random imagination of what you would like a gift-recipient to have, base it on your knowledge and understanding of their character. Use your observations of what they’re passionate about to decide on what the perfect gift would be. This might sound improbable, but it actually has the unexpected effect of pinpointing the perfect gift that doesn’t need extravagant spending. For example, someone who likes gardening would probably appreciate a natural plant as a gift much more than they would a mobile device. Or someone who likes music will probably enjoy dinner and show more than lavish jewelry. There are so many gifts that don’t have a great cost, but still have the desired impact of showing that you care. Just use a little imagination and ask the question: “What does a: ______ like?”

The January slope isn’t something to dread when you realize that it’s just a part of life. Not only can you survive it, you can actually avoid it by making wise choices before it happens. Whatever the case, take heart because you are destined to do great things not only in January, but in every month of 2018.

Happy Holidays to you, your family and friends. Our team at RISE Programs wishes you a Happy New Year as well, and an easy Cuesta de Enero!

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Just like that, another year has flown by. All the buzz surrounding the holidays is fading and it’s time to switch gears and think about the future. For many of us, the reflection that happens this time of year inspires a hunger for change. So we dive head-first into list after list of resolutions, hoping the transition to a new year is enough of a spark to stay motivated. But it takes more than a calendar event to accomplish anything meaningful in life. If you rely on seasonal circumstances to fuel your drive for success, anything you try to do differently will inevitably falter as time goes by. The key to following through on New Year’s resolutions is having the right attitude. More specifically, build your resolutions on an attitude of determination. Choose to be bold. Choose to be focused. Choose to do whatever it takes to become the person you want to be whether it’s January, June or December. Here are four ways to ensure that this is the last time you’ll make the same New Year’s resolution twice:

Do it for You:
Drawing inspiration from the need to please other people will make your resolutions cosmetic. This means you’ll be more likely to abandon your resolutions in the absence of praise or recognition for your efforts. The most important validation you need in order to maintain good habits, is your own.

Use Momentum:
They say one good decision leads to another. Use this principle to transcend the limits of your original resolutions. Every instance of positive change can be used as a catapult to accomplish even more desirable goals. For example, if your resolution to workout sends you to a new gym, use this environment to network and make new friends. If your resolution to eat healthy sends you grocery shopping instead of dining out, use this as an opportunity to save some cash by shopping at economical grocers. The possibilities are endless if you multitask a little bit and think outside the box.

Be Realistic:
Change takes time. This is especially true when trying to eliminate bad habits. Instead of overwhelming yourself by trying to achieve impossible expectations, take every course of action gradually. Give yourself some time to work, and room to breathe. Don’t assume that you won’t face any setbacks along the way. It’s important to be able to bounce back from any challenges you face while fulfilling your resolutions.

Just Go for It:
Making plans is easy. However, plans will never amount to anything if you hesitate to act on them. Don’t be afraid to go through with your intentions. Even if things don’t work out, it’s still an opportunity to test your abilities and learn something new. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose from trying to better yourself. So do it.

The New Year is an exciting time. It’s the perfect occasion to seize the day and embrace optimism. It’s the perfect chance to reinvent yourself and do something about the problems that typically drag you down in life. No matter what, do what you can to ensure that any resolutions you make end up as success stories instead of pipe dreams – the power is within you. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love the various informative workshops and events listed on our website and social media. Whether you’re interested in personal development, or overall improvement of your business, give us a call at 1 (888) 823-7757 to find out how RISE Programs can help you break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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There’s nothing quite like that giddy feeling you get when Christmas carols start playing at the mall. That’s usually the biggest sign that the holidays are in full-swing. Everyone smiles a little more, everyone’s ready to party a little harder, and there’s just plenty of love in the air. It all feels like a delightful dream until the dread hit’s you with a gut-punch – you totally forgot to budget for gifts this year. If this dilemma sounds all too familiar, don’t panic. It’s not too late to pull off a Christmas miracle as long as you’re willing to bootstrap a little bit. Here are twelve easy money-saving tips that can help raise a little extra cash for the holidays… whether or not you end up using it on gifts:

Shop Smart:

Most people naturally have very wasteful shopping habits. Instead of hunting for bargains, we opt to spend based on branding or store proximity. Rather than shopping just to feel good, shop with the central aim of meeting your current needs economically. For example:
Take time to plan and compare prices.
Use coupons and read through junk mail for special offers and sales.
Use a shopping list, and stick to the plan.
Sign up for Rewards Programs.
Shop online, especially for electronics.
Don’t use large shopping carts for quick trips. You’ll only end up filling them with extra purchases.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach. You’ll end up spending too much money on food.

Go Green:

The entire point behind environmentalism is conservation. This conservation has the wonderful consequence of saving money. The more you do to be ecological, the less cash you spend in the long run. For example:
Switch off every light bulb and electronic device in your home if it’s not being used. This will lower your power bill.
Buy rechargeable batteries and you won’t have to keep replenishing them once they’re exhausted.
Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels and you won’t have to spend money resupplying every month.
Find a recycling center that pays cash for recyclables like scrap metal, bottles, cans, electronics, printer cartridges and so on.

Get Smart about Smart Devices:

Allowing mobile devices to operate unmonitored not only consumes electricity, it also inflates data usage charges. If a smart device has an inactive screen, make sure the entire device is actually idle with precautions like these:
Switch off the Mobile Data or Wifi if you aren’t using them.
Shutdown all apps completely instead of merely exiting the screen.
Turn of location settings unless you are actively using GPS.
Use power-saving modes to keep the device charged for longer.

Review your Subscriptions:

If there is anything you’ve ever spent money on that needs periodic payments to maintain, think about whether you still actively use it. If not, terminate these payments in order to lower your financial burden every month. For example:
Magazine or newspaper delivery services are redundant considering you can access all the information you need online.
Owning a credit card with an annual fee is unnecessary when there are plenty of free options available.
Evaluate which of your entertainment services you actually use and commit to just one. For instance it makes no financial sense to simultaneously maintain subscriptions like Netflix, Cable, Satellite TV, Hulu, and so on, when in practice you probably only watch one hour of TV every day.

These are just a handful of ways you can cut costs and save on cash. The options are endless provided you’re willing to take a serious look at where every dime you earn goes. If you notice any wastage, make some minor changes and it will surprise you how far you can stretch a dollar. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love our many informative workshops and events listed on Eventbrite: Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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